¡Viva Chanel!

Our illustrated take on the brand's 2017 Resort Collection.

Daniel Egneus
OF 6

Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?
The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares
—Petula Clark, “Downtown”

And that’s exactly what they did. But then nobody does runway magic quite like Karl Lagerfeld. And this season’s Chanel Resort Collection was the best of them all. Here in downtown Havana, capitalism and communism were as interlocked as the brand’s double Cs. For the May 3rd event, Chanel flew in 55 models, over 180 journalists, and God only knows how many ensembles—actually, we do know, there were 86 new looks, 38 new handbags, plus variations of the “debutante” dress and guayabera, the traditional short-sleeve Cuban shirt. Every last one gathered together on and around the Paseo del Prado, built in 1772 and refreshed in the 1920s by a French landscape architect. Above the crowd and on either side loomed the grandeur of Cuban Baroque at its most voluptuous, balconies from which hung women, children, dogs, even a caged parrot. “There’s Gisele,” gasped one onlooker, while another posted an Instagram—“that couldn’t be Tilda Swinton....” VIPs were delivered in more than 170 candy-colored convertibles. For this one night only, it may not have been the Cuba that is, but it was definitely the Cuba we wanted it to be.